Darnell Dockett’s thin line, and “moments”

Posted by Darren Urban on July 26, 2016 – 9:20 am

One last thing about Darnell Dockett as his retirement settles in: Dockett talked about walking a thin line, but never really crossing it. “That’s just my personality,” he told Bertrand Berry on Berry’s radio show. “I was determined to create funny and hilarious moments my entire career.”

That’s something to keep in mind when people think back to much of the stirring up he did on social media. Yes, he showed himself taking a shower on UStream to win a wager. But all those other things? The day he tweeted while at jury duty, that didn’t really happen. Much to PETA’s chagrin, those times when he suggested he was going to get/he got a pet alligator or pet tiger? Even his traffic stops he tweeted about? Think very carefully about the source — Dock often just wanted to create a “moment.”

“In my next 20 years it’s going to be the same thing, it’ll just be more exciting because I don’t have rules,” Dockett said. “I won’t let people down, I won’t have to go talk to (VP of media relations) Mark Dalton every Monday morning before practice.

“You’re talking about a guy who walked a thin line but never got in trouble. I never got arrested, I never got suspended for games, besides the Whisenhunt thing, but that don’t count though. I don’t count that as a suspension. That was just somebody getting mad.”

(“The Whisenhunt thing” was the benching in Seattle following a sideline confrontation with then-teammate Kerry Rhodes. Whisenhunt was definitely mad after that one.)

“That’s what people fail to realize,” Dockett said. “People say Darnell la-la-la, but I never got in trouble. Never been on the news for anything bad, always Darnell is living his damn life — through an NFL career where they want you to be caged.”

That’s why, when Adrian Wilson said “There are heroes, there are villains, and there’s Dockett,” everyone who had been around Darnell just nodded in agreement. It was an apt description.


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30 Responses to “Darnell Dockett’s thin line, and “moments””

  1. By Scott H on Jul 26, 2016 | Reply

    A true warrior. Sorry to see his career come to an end but I am glad he is bringing it to a close in the place where it started. And, as it turned out, the only place he ever played.

    I loved his durability and his intensity. Will never forget his performance in SB 43, when he just seemed to get stronger as the game went on.

    I look forward to his inclusion into our Ring of Fame. We might as well put him there right now, as far as I’m concerned. Why wait? Is there any question as to whether he belongs???

  2. By mike in mesa on Jul 26, 2016 | Reply

    Everybody wants to hail Darnell Dockett since he’s retiring. Lets not forget he was one of the dirtiest players the Cardinals have had. I never rooted for him after he put a forearm to Matt Hasselbecks throat. He should have been fined and suspended. Not to mention all the idiotic things he did which he claims were just jokes now.

  3. By Scott H on Jul 26, 2016 | Reply

    Mike –

    Really, dude? Look, I was witness to his entire career, too, and I think it is ridiculous to call him one of the dirtiest players the Cardinals have ever had.

    Haynesworth was a dirty player. Darnell was an intense player. There is a BIG difference. And if DD was so dirty and unsportsman-like and criminal, then where were all the suspensions?

  4. By John The Draft Guy on Jul 26, 2016 | Reply


    Listening to Bickley on the radio, one of the first things he and the other host said they remembered about Dockett was the little argument between Dockett and Daryl Blackstock.

    I guess it was a memorable moment. Do you remember that and care to discuss?
    The only thing Bickley said was it was explosive and came immediately to mind.

  5. By Darren Urban on Jul 26, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Blackstock

    I vaguely remember something post-game? Seattle maybe? Not memorable enough for me to recall details, but maybe Dan saw it so it stuck with him.

  6. By John The Draft Guy on Jul 26, 2016 | Reply

    As for some things I remember about Dockett;

    – I remember the disruption John Randell did as an under tackle for Minn and when Denny drafted him, he was thinking Dockett could be like Randall.

    Dockett either was feeling his way out or was not a good fit as he had average years under Green. He never became the guy like an Aaron Donald.

    Then he moved to the modified 3-4, he put up his 3 best years from 2007-2009.

    As Whiz moved more and more to a true 3-4, Docketts role changed and he has his worst year as a pro in my opinion in 2012.

    Dockett was a good player. He was quick and tough. He was not great. I don’t count him as the best defensive lineman in cardinal history. I believe Campbell is a better player. i believe Eric Swann was a better player and more of a force.

    Saying that, you won’t find a whole lot of cardinal defensive lineman who are better than him. He played hard and with passion. He played on some bad cardinal teams and went 100% every game. For that, as a season ticket holder, I thank him.

    Good luck Dockett in whatever you choose next. We look forward to seeing you along the sidelines.

  7. By Darren Urban on Jul 26, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Dockett

    I think that’s a pretty solid analysis.

  8. By Richard S on Jul 26, 2016 | Reply

    Since it’s a long drive down there from Northern California, I’ve only seen one game there, Matt Leinart’s first start against the Kansas City Chiefs. What I remember – Beautiful stadium – Leinart played well. I said after the game that he’d win more games than he’d lose. I looked for a Dockett jersey but they were all sold out, so I got a Leinart jersey. Very tight game until the end. KC had a long run after a pass to the flat to take the lead. Left the stadium early as I thought the game was over, but turned on the radio and the Cards were close to a field goal. It’s not over till it’s over although the Cards lost that one.

  9. By John The Draft Guy on Jul 26, 2016 | Reply

    Scott H and Mike,

    Dirty play – Just talking in general, I find it interesting how people romanticize old players for their dirty play and then crucify today’s players.

    From Jack Tatum, Mean Joe Greene to Conrad Dobler and Jack Lambert, these guys would never make it in today’s NFL. Then you have Suh do a fraction of what Joe Greene did and is considered dirty.

    I’d be curious how Mike felt about Jack Tatum or Mean Joe Greene?

    Personally, I have never liked players who play after the whistle or outside the rules. Past or Present.

    But you can’t say you loved Dobler’s antics, then criticize Dockett’s play. Either you like both or don’t approve of both.

  10. By CWard on Jul 26, 2016 | Reply

    Welcome Home, Darnell … you are back where you belong.

  11. By steve on Jul 26, 2016 | Reply

    Darren: What impressed me the most was Dockett’s durability, he missed only like 2 games when he was a Cardinal. That was pretty remarkable given the position he played, can you think of another Cards player of note who had that kind of track record?

  12. By Darren Urban on Jul 26, 2016 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Durability

    Not at a position like that. Fitz has been durable.

  13. By Kevin on Jul 26, 2016 | Reply

    Nine-O has been and will be my favorite Cardinal for a while! I hope that RN will be able to play with the same passion and fire! The defense needs a little attitude on the line to help drive everyone else!

    Thanks for the memories DD!

  14. By SeeingRed on Jul 26, 2016 | Reply

    Love me some Darnell Dockett. Made my month to see him back in the Cardinal fold where he belongs. He looked great and even better hearing his fondness for his former team even after the SF thing-made me love the guy more. Loved his meanness on the field (call it dirty if you want-btw dont we call them dirty birds) but that’s football for you who still think its a gentleman’s game. NO-it’s a mans game and a gladiator sport. Now, hopefully Rolle, Dansby and of the Q follow suit-unlikely as that is.

  15. By andystandsup on Jul 26, 2016 | Reply

    Solid player but not ROH guy.
    Think his personality ranks him more memorable than the guys who were low key like Berry or Swann.
    Not a supporter but neither a hater.

    Just a good AZ Cardinal player that made the headlines for his off the field activity almost as much as his play on it.

  16. By Brad on Jul 27, 2016 | Reply

    What’;s the chances on getting Dockett on the coaching staff in the next couple years?

  17. By Darren Urban on Jul 27, 2016 | Reply

    Brad —

    RE: Dockett coaching

    I feel confident in saying Dockett isn’t the coaching type.

    Heck, he just said how excited he is to not have any rules and how the NFL likes to “cage” people. He’d be even more “caged” as an assistant coach than he was a player.

  18. By mike in mesa on Jul 27, 2016 | Reply

    Hey John the Draft Guy
    Dirty play is dirty play. I don’t care what time period its in. If someone had done what Dockett did to Warner that game fans here would be screaming. The hypocrisy that comes in is when you think its ok for your guy to do it.

  19. By mike in mesa on Jul 27, 2016 | Reply

    Just so you know I’m a Cardinals fan. But I don’t like dirty play even if its a Cardinal. Dockett wasn’t brightest person to take the field. Of course now he claims it was all a joke. Yeah right.

  20. By mike in mesa on Jul 27, 2016 | Reply

    Heres a poll back in the day by Sporting News of 99 NFL players. Guess who’s top 5.

  21. By Scott H on Jul 27, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG –

    Good to have you back! For what it’s worth, I don’t think I’m “romanticizing” anyone, either recent players or from back in the day. For me, Albert Haynesworth was the perfect example of a dirty player. And I see a distinction between what he was and what Darnell was. And I object to Double D being called a dirty player. He was no angel, but…so what? Not everyone plays the game like a Reggie White or an Adrian Wilson. Anquan Boldin was no angel, either, but he was never dirty. He just played with an edge and an attitude and believed in giving it to other players verbally during the game. I have NO problem with that. I WANT those kind of players on my team.

    And for what it’s worth, I think I have to rate Darnell as somewhere a little higher than good. No, maybe he wasn’t great. A few great years, as you say, but not always. But I think just “good” sells him a little short.

    I say he is a Ring of Fame guy because he played his whole career here, it was a longer than average career, and I believe he had some pride in being a Cardinal. And he WAS a very good player, with a few years at the level of great. This team has been to ONE SB and he was a standout player during that season and ( especially! ) that game.

    And that should get him in, IMHO. He has my vote, no question.

  22. By Scott H on Jul 27, 2016 | Reply

    As for polls…..yeah….just take a look at our candidates right for President of the United States. So much for what polls mean.

    And BTW, it’s pretty much human nature among sports fans to love a guy when he plays for you, to hate him when he plays for someone else. It’s not hypocricy – it’s what fans do. In every city, in every sport. But it’s not really that simple.

    If the Cardinals were to sign Greg Hardy or Ray Rice tomorrow, I would be the first one in line to protest and call the organization on the carper for very bad judgement. I wouldn’t root for them here, I wouldn’t root for them anywhere. Contrary to a previous post, that would NOT be OK. So, I object to the premise that I would love any and all bad guys if they played for my team.

    Greg Hardy or Albert Haynesworth? Never.

    Darnell Dockett? Any day of the week and DEFINITELY twice on SUNDAY!

  23. By TLT fka DTL on Jul 28, 2016 | Reply

    DD brought his lunch pail everyday. Proud to root for him.

  24. By mike in mesa on Jul 28, 2016 | Reply

    Hey Scott H you do realize this was a poll of the players? Not fans. I guess the guys playing have no credibility though.

  25. By mike in mesa on Jul 28, 2016 | Reply

    One thing I do like about Darren Urban’s articles is that he does a pretty good job of informing while walking that fine line between reality and some fans rabid expectations and responses.

  26. By Scott H on Jul 28, 2016 | Reply

    Mike –

    OK, it was a poll of players. And? What exactly does that prove? Did ya ever consider the possibility that maybe a lot of the players who were voting at that time got beat pretty bad by Double D when they played against him and / or maybe they just didn’t like him because of the way he jawed at guys during the game? I would consider these valid considerations.

    I would never suggest that the players have no credibility. That’s ridiculous. But let’s be real here. It’s football. There is a lot of physical contact, emotion, and volatility going on on every field every week. There are always guys going at it verbally. There is always pushing and shoving. There is always guys celebrating excessively, which I’m sure gets under the skin of opposing players. There are late hits during every game. And etc, etc, etc. These things were happening long before Darnell Dockett came along and they have continued to go on since he’s been gone. They will continue to occur because it is the nature of what happens during a football game.

    That says to me that Darnell Dockett was really just a pretty typical football player who played within the norm for what players on defense tend to do.

    You seem to think that player polls should mean so much but you still haven’t answered the question – where were the suspensions??? If he was such a dirty player for as long as he played, how was he never suspended?? Was the NFL somehow looking the other way the whole time??

  27. By mike in mesa on Jul 29, 2016 | Reply

    Scott H
    What does it prove? It proves of the 99 players polled that Dockett was considered a top 5 dirty player. You know by the guys who actually played the game. But hey I’m sure your right. These 99 had biased reasons in their minds to vote for him as opposed to your unbiased opinion. You disregard their answers and come up with reasons they voted the way they did to reach the conclusion you want. I’m sorry but I’m going to have to go with the players on this. It did reinforce what I saw him do to Hasselbeck. Just keep grasping at your suspension statistic as the sole reason to call someone dirty.

  28. By Scott H on Jul 29, 2016 | Reply

    mike –

    Dude, go with whatever you choose to go with. Knock yourself out. But also realize you are doing exactly the same thing you accuse me of doing ( foolishly ). You are looking at your indicators as what REALLY matters and disregarding other possibilities. So….right back at ya.

    I’m not grasping at any “suspension statistics” ( whatever that means ) any more that you are grasping at what you saw him do to Hasselbeck. In one game. One ONE play. Yeah, you’re right….I guess we should base everything on that, right? Lets throw out the thousands of other plays he was on the field for during his career and just hold onto the ONE play that supports your point of view. Gee, that’s convenient, huh?

    I find your conclusions every bit as selective as you seem to find mine.

  29. By mike in mesa on Jul 30, 2016 | Reply

    No Scott but nice try. I actually am basing it on the players that played him. That confirms what I believe. Unless you think they are all obfuscating. Nice of you to leave out that part of the argument. So you see I’m not quite doing the same thing as you. I’ve referenced a poll of the players. Maybe they based their conclusions on one play. Darnell Dockett was a dirty player and a nut. Have you forgotten all the goofy things he said? Do you think he’s on A.J. McCarron’s christmas card list? No way this guy should be in a ring of honor. Leave that to players who deserve it.

  30. By Scott H on Jul 30, 2016 | Reply

    Mike –

    Well, Mike, I think it is likely he will be a ROH member. And he absolutely should be. Because OUR ROH isn’t determined by the a poll of players ( sorry, I know you seem to need that to tell you what you should think ). It is determined by the organization, who tends to do a pretty good job of recognizing the special players who wore this uniform.

    I’ll be sure to think of you on the day he goes in.

    And, yeah, you really are kinda doing the same thing you claim I am doing. You are making references to what you think matters. I am doing the same. What’s the difference?

    BTW, I have to ask…..if a poll of players confirms what you believe about Double D, what impact will his induction have into the ROH have on your thinking then? Will you step back and re-consider your point of view at that point. or will you stubbornly stick you guns and maintain that a poll of players from 20 years ago is the end-all, be-all for this whole thing?

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